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Biochim Biophys Acta. 1982 Apr 15;711(1):26-32.

Elevated levels of cellular and extracellular phospholipases from pathogenic Naegleria fowleri.


Phospholipase A, sphingomyelinase and lysophospholipase activities were examined in cell homogenates and cell-free culture media of virulent and virulent-attenuated Naegleria fowleri and nonpathogenic Naegleria gruberi. Homogenates of virulent N. fowleri contained from 3 to 250 times the lipolytic activity of virulent-attenuated and non-pathogenic Naegleria spp. Similarly, the cell-free media of virulent N. fowleri cultures contained large quantities of phospholipase A, lysophospholipase and sphingomyelinase while comparable activities in the cell-free media of virulent-attenuated and nonpathogenic Naegleria spp. were only slightly, if at all, detectable. Lipolytic enzymes accumulated in the media of virulent N. fowleri cultures at various stages during growth but not in virulent-attenuated and nonpathogenic Naegleria cultures. In general, phospholipase A and sphingomyelinase accumulated during the log phase of growth while lysophospholipase appeared only in the late stationary phase. We conclude that pathogenic Naegleria contain potent lipolytic enzymes that are released selectively into the media during growth. These enzymes could contribute to the pathogenesis of Naegleria-induced primary amoebic meningoencephalitis.

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